A Spanish journalist, Roberto Torres (Dougray Scott), is trying to mend his relation with his dying father, Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley), who took part in the Spanish Civil War. Roberto discovers through his investigations that his father was a close childhood friend of Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), a candidate for sainthood, with whom he had a complicated relationship. Manolo became a soldier during the Spanish Civil War and became obsessed with a beautiful Hungarian revolutionary, Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko). She rejected him and gave herself to a brave militia leader named Oriol. Manolo became jealous and took a path of betrayal which he has suffered from his whole life. This event ultimately reveals the importance and timeless power of forgiveness for Manolo…

Roland Joffés “There Be Dragons” explores themes such as betrayal, forgiveness, friendship, and finding the meaning of life in everyday life during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. “Reconciliation matters” is the main take away message that Joffe expects from the viewers. Life, he said, is an opportunity to love: “It’s a choice, and in making that decision you become free. You do not become free when you hate. The weird thing is when you really love, you feel it like a breath of freedom, you think ‘Oh my God, I’ve chosen this, and it’s beautiful’.” He emphasized that Christianity is about love and the teaching of St. Josemaria “encourages a spiritual relationship with God in ‘very simple things’, in cooking a meal, being with one’s family, or even having a fight.” Joffé states that this is “a film about what it means to be a saint in this day and age.” The title refers to its theme exploring the unknown territories of hatred, guilt, and forgiveness, said the producer Ignacio G. Sancha. “There be dragons” is a shorter version of the phrase “here there be dragons” from the Latin hic sunt dracones, an ancient way of denoting in maps a place where there is danger, or an unknown place, a place to be explored. Roland Joffé has given us the fantastic “The Mission” and the equally great “The Killing Fields”, and therefore it pains me to see this overdramatised and theatrically overacted piece of film from the same man. With a great backdrop of the horrific Spanish Civil War, Joffé manages to transform “There Be Dragons” to an almost comiclike mish mash with sloppy direction and sloppy acting despite the fact that he obviously had a great budget. Sometimes you almost believe the movie has been dubbed as well… With an estimated budget of $36,000,000, during its opening weekend the film collected $705,537 at the US box office, compared to $1,251,124 in Spain, the film is considered a box office flop. Critics generally praised the film’s production values but panned Joffé’s screenplay and direction. I disliked this movie from scene one and nothing came to its rescue during the running time. I would love to see a proper historical movie in spanish focused on the Spanish Civil War. (2 out of 5)

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